‘Self-sustainable’ car takes top spot at Vehicle Design Awards

The UK’s brightest young designers competed at the 29th annual Pilkington Vehicle Design Awards, held at the Royal College of Art.

The Best Use of Glazing 2016 Award was won by Patrick Carton - image courtesy of Pilkington Vehicle Design Awards.
The Best Use of Glazing 2016 Award was won by Patrick Carton – image courtesy of Pilkington Vehicle Design Awards.

The RCA’s vehicle design students showcased their own original works, having been tasked with delivering insight into the most innovative trends shaping the future of the automotive industry.

Nominated students participated in competition for two awards; Best Use of Glazing – won by Patrick Carton, and Best Design Interpretation – won by Javier Garcia-Gallardo.

Such was the standard of entries this year; two additional commendations were awarded to Frederick Vanden Borre and Hosan Song.

Attended by scouts from a number of leading automotive manufacturers, the event provided a unique opportunity for students to display their designs to key industry players, many of whom are on the lookout for new talent.

How ‘Thrive’ works:

During movement, air pressure is filtered through flexible ‘gills’ at the front of the car; each flex caused by the force of the wind creates an energy charge which is stored in the car’s batteries.

When rain falls, the vehicle’s hydrophobic glass directs water droplets into a specially designed collection bowl, where moisture pools and swirls to generate energy.

Patrick Carton’s winning design, ‘Thrive’, aimed to revolutionise the concept of rural mobility.

His self-sustainable vehicle utilises piezoelectric materials which create an electric charge when put under mechanical pressure.

Through this process, the vehicle is able to generate power from the rain and wind, as well as sunlight, and is able to operate independently without the need for an electronic charging point or petrol source.

Carton’s design included the innovative use of hydrophobic coated glass as a method of feeding a rain-powered turbine that boosted the vehicle’s electric charge.

Competition judge and director of automotive R&D programmes at NSG Group, Mike Greenall commented: “It’s so encouraging to see how these young designers are pushing the boundaries of innovation.

The event provided a unique opportunity for students to display their designs to key industry players - image courtesy of Pilkington Vehicle Design Awards.
The event provided a unique opportunity for students to display their designs to key industry players – image courtesy of Pilkington Vehicle Design Awards.

“The next decade represents a pivotal time for the automotive industry with new technology and sustainability concerns likely to exert a significant influence on industry trends. On today’s evidence, these students will be at the forefront of this evolution.”

Professor Dale Harrow at the Royal College of Art explained: “The designs showcased today demonstrate immense potential.

“Previous vehicle design graduates have gone on to work for some of the industry’s biggest names, and I’m confident that this year’s graduates will make their mark on the fast-changing world of automotive design.

“With the manufacturing and engineering industries in the midst of a skills shortage, it is vital that the students’ talent is nurtured and utilised in the workplace.”